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Professor Robert Coe, from Durham University:  “This seems to underline the view that improvements in GCSEs and some other examinations have had more to do with grade inflation than real sustained improvements over time.”

If we want a fairer education system we must start by putting less pressure on kids

Richer parents will always buy into extra provision – so why not ensure all pupils are put on a more equal footing

‘Old habits’ return to early academies as A-level results slump

Research shows tail-off in performance at the first state schools granted new status

Schools on course to miss Government's GCSE exam target

The science pass rate is set to drop as a result of examiners making physics, chemistry and biology papers tougher

Boys will be boys: Gender divide is growing fast at A-levels

Girls shy away from maths and science and fewer boys opt for English and creative subjects

A-levels: Probe into languages teaching as pupil numbers continue to fall

Two major investigations have been launched into the state of modern foreign languages in the wake of yet another slump in the number of candidates taking the subject at A-level.

Hannah Short celebrates grades of A*, A and B at Brighton College in East Sussex

A-level results 2013: Number of pupils scoring top grades drops for second year running

The number of top grade passes at A-level dropped for the second year running, results showed today.

The slump in applications from boys runs through all social strata

Higher university tuition fees 'putting off working-class boys'

Boys are more likely to shun university as a result of the rise in tuition fees, according to new research.

Scott Parker in action against West Ham last week

Age no barrier for Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker who sets his sights on the World Cup

The 32-year-old is hopeful of being included in squad for Rio 2014

Gove 'talked up' league table slide

England's much-lamented slide down the international education league tables may not be as bad as it seems, according to a report by a leading academic.

Hamish McRae: Markets' merry Christmas despite triple-dip talk

Economic View: Monetary policy has started to be counterproductive as it has all sorts of negative effects

Something to think about: i, the concise, quality newspaper, is on the lookout for self-motivated, energetic and organised Student Brand Ambassadors

Financial incentives – and free laptops – to be offered as universities try to woo students

Bright A-level candidates are being wooed with financial incentives this autumn as universities struggle to cling on to high-flying students.

Father jailed for stabbing man to death for asking if his daughter was all right

A father was jailed for at least 26 years today for killing a man for asking if his crying daughter was all right.

All Rhodes lead to Wembley for Huddersfield

Huddersfield set up an all-Yorkshire showdown with Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday week as they went through to the League One play-off final 3-2 on aggregate despite losing 2-1 to MK Dons.

I may look to be joking with David Seaman, but inside I'm hurting after Sheffield United's 2003 FA Cup defeat

Neil Warnock: My lifelong love for the Cup has always gone unrequited

What I Learnt This Week

Double from captain Holt helps Norwich defeat Magpies

Norwich 4 Newcastle 2

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
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Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
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people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
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Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?